Friday, March 7, 2014
By TUX TURKEL
Bill Thompson, who most recently served as editorial page editor for the Fort Worth Business Press, will fill the post at the Maine newspapers by early fall. He will be based in Augusta.
Thompson has had a working relationship dating back to the 1970s with Richard L. Connor, editor and publisher of the two Maine newspapers. Connor is president and chief executive officer of MaineToday Media Inc., which purchased the papers in June, along with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and other media outlets. Thompson will also write editorials for the Portland papers.
Thompson served in the early 1980s as city editor at The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., part of a media group still owned by Connor. He worked at the Fort Worth Business Press, which was formerly owned by Connor, until 2007.
Thompson has since taken some time off from work, but said he was intrigued by Connor's invitation to return to journalism at the Maine papers, and to an industry trying to reinvent itself as it adapts to shrinking ad revenue and readership.
''I really think he understands what needs to be done to make a newspaper successful at this time,'' Thompson said. ''I want to be part of that.''
Connor said he hired Thompson because of his deep experience, editing skills and keen observations.
''Obviously,'' Connor said, ''it will take him some time to get up to speed on Maine issues and regional ones, but he will get there fast.''
Thompson, who is 62, said he has been to Maine only three times. But he has been hearing about the state for years from Connor, a Bangor native.
Thompson said it was still unclear to him how his job would be structured, and to what degree his editorial topics would receive direction.
Asked about his own political and social leanings, Thompson described himself as conservative.
''But I don't think of myself as an ideologue,'' he said.
Connor said he will be in frequent contact with Thompson and will collaborate on some editorials. Connor currently reviews all editorials for the newspapers and reserves the right to edit, accept or reject them.